Brendan Fraser Claims Former HFPA President Philip Berk Sexually Assaulted Him
In an amazingly well-done interview with GQ, Brendan Fraser broke his silence about his experience of being allegedly sexually assaulted by former Hollywood Foreign Press Association (HFPA) president Philip Berk.
The article, entitled “What Ever Happened To Brendan Fraser,” goes through Fraser’s acting career peak in the 1990s with him starring in several huge hit films including the Mummy franchise. All the while putting his body through immense pain. Part of the reason he was able to stand out was his willingness to do physical comedy, even if it led to long term damage.
Fraser reveals that “By the time I did the third Mummy picture in China,” in 2008, “I was put together with tape and ice—just, like, really nerdy and fetishy about ice packs. Screw-cap ice packs and downhill-mountain-biking pads, ’cause they’re small and light and they can fit under your clothes. I was building an exoskeleton for myself daily.”
This led to him needing multiple surgeries: “I needed a laminectomy. And the lumbar didn’t take, so they had to do it again a year later.” He also had to get: a partial knee replacement, more work on his back to bolt various compressed spinal pads together, he needed to have his vocal cords repaired. “All told, Fraser says, he was in and out of hospitals for almost seven years.”
“This is gonna really probably be a little saccharine for you,” Fraser warns. “But I felt like the horse from Animal Farm, whose job it was to work and work and work. Orwell wrote a character who was, I think, the proletariat. He worked for the good of the whole, he didn’t ask questions, he didn’t make trouble until it killed him.… I don’t know if I’ve been sent to the glue factory, but I’ve felt like I’ve had to rebuild shit that I’ve built that got knocked down and do it again for the good of everyone. Whether it hurts you or not.”
Fraser’s description of the willingness of the film industry to physically put him through hell in order to get a better take, reinforces the stories of female actresses, of producers not caring what happens to you as long as you aren’t, as Megan Fox put it, “bleeding from the face.”
Then Fraser’s story (which you should 100% read in full, as it is fantastic) begins to talk about the issues that he didn’t have “the courage to speak up for risk of humiliation, or damage to my career.”
In the summer of 2003, during a luncheon held by the Hollywood Foreign Press Association, on Fraser’s way out of the hotel, he was hailed by Philip Berk, a former president of the HFPA.
Much of what happened next Berk recounted in his memoir and was also reported by Sharon Waxman in The New York Times: He pinched Fraser’s ass—in jest, according to Berk. But Fraser says what Berk did was more than a pinch: “His left hand reaches around, grabs my ass cheek, and one of his fingers touches me in the taint. And he starts moving it around.” Fraser says that in this moment he was overcome with panic and fear.
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